Thu, Jan 10, 2013 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

A turbulent path ahead?

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) needs to wake up!

The disappointing fireworks display at Taipei 101 on New Year’s Eve foreshadowed the relatively gloomy outlook for the year ahead.

Heated debates over retirement packages strengthen the visible divisions between the ruling and the opposition parties. Now with the upcoming DPP-led protest on Jan. 13, the prospects for reconciliation are grim.

Regrettably, both the governing and the opposition parties have continued their unnecessary political bickering where they left off last year. Both are reprehensible for their inabilities to address the current challenges faced by Taiwan.

To begin with, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has already been mired in a spate of scandals involving elected politicians and government officials.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), plagued by internal division, was unable to articulate a coherent economic and health policy.

Equally, the DPP should share the blame for complicating the matter. The public is generally unaware of any viable alternative to what the DPP offers. One former DPP lawmaker painstakingly reminded the party that dissatisfaction with Ma cannot be equated to support for the DPP.

Importantly, the planned protest on Jan. 13 is merely a one-day event. Ma, after successfully being re-elected last year, is likely to remain relatively unscathed by the protest.

The DPP needs to demonstrate that the party has the human capital and capacity to govern. For a start, the DPP needs to revise its China policy. Although the DPP has reinstituted its Department of China Affairs, most DPP ranking members decline to interact with it, signaling disarray within the party.

On socioeconomic issues, despite DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) in a recent interview on a political show stating that the DPP has prepared a comprehensive reform for health care and other social issues, the public seems unaware of any such plans.

Either these plans were not well-publicized or were not highlighted in newspapers or the DPP did not convey them well.

With the recent elections in Japan and South Korea, Taiwan should pay attention to talks over disputed islands and policies toward China. For Taiwan is the player with least leverage and should be cognizant of the changing environment in East Asia. To this end, the DPP should inform the public of its policies and thoughts on the development in East Asia whether via political commentaries, forums or political talk shows.

Although the proper party is the ruling government, the DPP has to remedy the public’s misconception that it is incapable of managing international affairs.

The commencement of this year can be likened to a winter of discontent as a considerable number of companies are not giving bonuses to their employees and approval rates for the president and Cabinet members continue to stagnate.

Accordingly, all opposition parties, not just the DPP, have to step up their efforts in supervising the government and being more proactive in taking a lead on socioeconomic issues.

Tom Chou

Singapore

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